Happy Warriors: How Trump And His Team Talk About America

Written by Bill Thomas on February 12, 2020

William James, an American philosopher and psychologist from the 19th century, once wrote, “Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”

The truth of that statement has never been more evident than it is in the 2020 presidential campaign. The turnout for Iowa’s GOP caucus was incredibly high, more so than many recent incumbents and attendance at Trump rallies have dwarfed those of his Democrat rivals in New Hampshire. Trump and his team are generating a lot of enthusiasm and excitement wherever they go. The Democrats, by contrast, seem to be struggling to generate enthusiasm.  Why is that happening?

One thing that stands out to me is what William James wrote about years ago. The Trump campaign exudes optimism and celebrates what’s right with America. People are thrilled to have their feelings validated. They know the Trump administration is accomplishing great things on their behalf. They are in the mood to celebrate and re-elect the president. The unemployment rate continues to trend downward and registers just above 3.5%. People know this stat is true. They know, that because of Trump’s policies, there are more jobs than there have been in years.

The economy is better, too. The American people see it is and they are expressing it. Trump respects and honors law enforcement officers. Add to that the joy of great judicial appointments; a strong stance for the pro-life movement; and the thrill that Trump and the GOP (except for one senator from Utah) remained united and strong against the partisan impeachment attack unleashed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and you have quite a list of accomplishments.

As Trump has said at his rallies, “While we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the Congressional Democrats are obsessed with demented hoaxes, crazy witch hunts and deranged partisan crusades. That’s all they know how to do, the do-nothing Democrats.”

Attending a Trump rally is a celebration. America is coming back and doing well. Trump rallies are evidence of it. They trumpet a message of American optimism and joy. They are a tribute to people who love a president and a president who really cares and does for them. It’s a bright picture.

The contrast to that is the Democrat slog to nominate a candidate. They began their march to 2020 with the debacle known as the Iowa Democrat Caucus. The Democrats demonstrated for the nation their inability to manage a caucus, casting doubt upon just how well they would manage anything else.

As bad as their inability to count votes is, the Democrats’ description of America is worse. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) makes the specious claim that Trump’s economy is not good for working families. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) asserts the economy works for Wall Street but not the middle class. Both the self-described Democrat-Socialist and the South Bend Mayor are spinning the truth. They, and the rest of the Democrat field, describe an America that is harsh, mean, ugly, and unfair. The mood they generate is one of anger and desperation. Their rhetoric leads to hashtag, “Trump sucks”  that pollutes Twitter with some of the vilest language imaginable. The hate they stir leads the crazy left-wingers to attack Trump supporters. In their last debate, they made a united front supporting abortion rights and declaring they’d never appoint a pro-life judge.

Stephanie Saul of the New York Times described it this way. “Historically, many presidential candidates have shied away from an outright litmus test on abortion or any other issue, arguing that Supreme Court justices should not be selected based on their political positions but on their experience and jurisprudence. But that has changed this campaign cycle.”

That’s what the Democrats see when they look across our great country. They see a need for wealth distribution. They believe law enforcement needs to be reined in and controlled. They see Christian and traditional values as something that should be stamped out. They believe that human life does not begin at conception and have no problem with more abortions. They stir up hate, impugn Trump voters and believe they are smarter and better qualified to make decisions than the hordes of deplorables. Their talk of unity means the country will have to do things their way. That’s the Democrat vision of America.

This election may come down to how people see what’s going on in the country. Do they see good things happening? Do they see record economic growth? Are they happy with job prospects? Are they encouraged by support for law and order? Do they believe America’s place in the world is stronger now than before? Will optimism carry the day and the election or will the Democrats’ bleak vision of how things are win out?  I’m confident that optimism will win and with it, Trump in 2020.

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Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas lives in Washington, Missouri and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. He's also on staff at First Christian Church in Washington, Missouri. He's authored two novellas, From the Ashes and The Sixty-First Minute published by White Feather Press of MI and three Bible studies, Surrounded by Grace, The Critical Questions and More and The Road to Victory published by CSS Publishing of OH.